Liturgically, we begin our countdown to Christmas through this season of Advent which begins this Sunday. Many people associate Advent and Christmas as a time of philanthropy and
becoming more generous as a positive goal. It is a goal not just for the season; it is one for every day of our lives. Christ admonishes us to love others always: not just during the seasons
of Advent and Christmas.
“Why is it,” said the rich man to his minister, “that people call me stingy when everyone knows that when I die I’m leaving all my possessions to the church?” “Let me tell you a fable about the pig and the cow,” said the minister. The pig was unpopular while the cow was beloved. This puzzled the pig.
“People speak warmly of your gentle nature and your sorrowful eyes” the pig said to the cow.
“They think you’re generous because each day you give them milk and cream.
But what about me? I give them everything I have. I give bacon and ham. I provide bristles for brushes. They even pickle my feet! Yet no one likes me. Why is that?” the pig
further added. The cow said, “Perhaps it is because I give while I’m still living.”
The Gospel account on the multiplication of the loaves is a unique miracle (Jn. 6:1-15). It is the only one found in each of the four gospels. But what is its message? When the disciples suggested sending the people away to find lodging and food because there wasn’t enough to feed them. They were suggesting letting each one take care of himself.
But Jesus solves this problem by demonstrating an act of charity and not of selfishness.
The miracle of a world where there would be plenty of food for all can be accomplished when selfish motives are set side, and all started working collectively to share what one has.
This is the true Miracle … the miracle of giving, and the Christmas season (which we enthusiastically await as we celebrate the third week of advent) is likewise a reminder of such an act because Christ himself was born among us to offer himself as a sacrifice for our sins.
Looking at our own Philippine situation, PCP II (Second Plenary Council of the Philippines) laments over the blatant fact that an almost exclusively selfish view of private property and resources has contributed to a wide gap between the rich and the increasingly oppressive deprivation of thousands of Filipino families.
The genuine economy of resources does not consist in having, but in being. A person may have, but only in order that he may be.
Man has needs and has the right to use and possess the goods of the earth to satisfy his needs. However, care must be taken to ascertain that needs are authentic human needs and not just artificial needs fueled by excessive consumerism.
Certainly, our Church reminds us, there is nothing wrong in wanting to live a better quality of life. What is wrong is a lifestyle “which is presumed to be better when it is directed towards having rather than being, and which wants to have more, not in order to have more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as end in itself.”
And, it is because of the fact that government has the greatest control over all our resources that we need to elect men and women in office who would in themselves inspire too a miracle of giving.
They should be one who: (1) prefers the cause of the poor and underprivileged; (2) animates others – through his/her words, works, witness – towards a commitment: (a) to share with the poor, (b) to serve the poor, (c) to live simply so that the poor may benefit, and (d) to being with, working with and learning from the poor; and, (3) uses his possessions and means primarily for the common good and no just for personal gain.
In a political world such as ours, only a handful are willing to give way for the common good at the price of his/her own possessions and interests. It has always been the defense mechanism of officials to hide behind pretension of having to bear the burden of insufficient funding for projects and expenses, which spells improvements.
The charade is over … it is high time to elect generous leaders, someone who will never be hampered by a rotten political system but would conversely inspire others towards a miracle of
giving in meeting the needs of others. "Love and charity, are service, helping others, serving others.
There are many people who spend their lives in this way, in the service of others. … When you forget yourself and think of others, this is love! And with the washing of the feet the Lord teaches us to be servants, and above all, servants as He was a servant to us, for every one of us” (Pope Francis, Jubilee audience, March 12, 2016)
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